WTN: A dinners worth of notes

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WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:19 pm

Dinner at Thor and Theresa's is always a (most excellent) culinary adventure. This night was in celebration of a visit from Larry Stein. Once again, lots of great food and conversation with a few pretty decent wines....

NV Raymond Boulard Brut Champagne Mailly Grand Cru - This 90% pinot noir champers is remarkably well structured with rich aromas and flavors of bread dough, ripe red fruits, and pink grapefruit. Very nice starter.

2001 André & Rémy Gresser Duttenberg Riesling (Alsace) - Slightly petrol/wet stone nose with flavors of crisp white fruits, good body, and a dry, citrusy finish. Still quite young, although more open than I’d expect from an ’01 right now.

1995 René & Vincent Dauvissat “La Forest” Chablis 1er Cru - Beautiful. This is good..really really good. Rich notes of apple, wet stone, and lemon/lime with a very full, creamy body and excellent minerality. All chardonnay should taste this good.

1992 Karthauserhof Eitelsbacher Kartauserhofberg Riesling Spatlese #9 (Mosel) - Stunning. Full flavored honeyed, racy lemon cream. Super long finish. Wine like this reminds me why it’s so worth aging German riesling. Thank you, Larry.

1989 Chapoutier Le Pavillon Ermitage - This is an extremely elegant, mature wine with a great nose of anise, licorice and dark fruit. The wine is silky and wonderfully seamless. If you are looking for a brooding, animalistic, aggressive Hermitage then look elsewhere though. As good as this wine is, it just doesn’t have the wow factor that one might expect from its acclaim. Special thanks to Anonymous Donor.

1994 Chapoutier La Bernardine Châteauneuf-du-Pape - Corked.

1995 Sanct Valentin Cabernet (Alto Adige) - Both franc and sauvignon strut their stuff in this distinctive wine. Floral, herbal, front end, with clean cab flavors, and smooth, velvety tannins. Still young but surprisingly tasty and complex.

2000 Pegasus Bay Waipara Pinot Noir - The nose says spicy, smoky syrah but the flavor and body is decidedly pinot. Spiced, ripe cherry with a faint hint of smoked game and a good dose of acidity. Not at all OTT. It would be interesting to see how this develops while it ages.

1998 Maculan Torcolato (Breganze) - Gorgeous. Brilliant balance with essence of wild flowers and honey, just enough sweetness, and a long silky finish.
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby JoePerry » Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:34 pm

Damn, my cold! :x

Sorry I missed it.

Did you get anyone to replace me, or just double up on the foie gras?
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Hoke » Tue Sep 19, 2006 1:47 pm

Hey, that R & V Dauvissat Le Forest is great stuff! The 1995 was wonderful, and I had the great fortune to suck down some of the 1990 a couple of years ago. Wow! It actually beat out some Batard and Puligny wines that were on the table as well.

Sounds like a great evening all around. Shame the court jester couldn't make it. :)
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:49 pm

Did you get anyone to replace me, or just double up on the foie gras?
Now who could replace you? Nope..just the 5 of us.
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:50 pm

Hey, that R & V Dauvissat Le Forest is great stuff
I've never had a Chablis I've like so much, Hoke. I havent had alot of Chablis but this wine was in a really nice place. 1990? nice!
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:59 pm

Bill, Thanks for the note on the Chablis. I see that the Rare Wine Company has some in stock.

After my course with Andrea Robinson this weekend, I've embarked on exploring white wines in a systematic manner. Chablis, quite by chance, was the first area I chose, and I'm grateful for an excellent example. Thanks.

Sounds like a nice gathering and I'm sure the food was splendid.

Regards, Bob
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Tue Sep 19, 2006 3:12 pm

I see that the Rare Wine Company has some in stock
shhh :wink: Yes, I did see that too.

I'm sure the food was splendid.
There was a whole lotta salivating going on. And there is never a lack of creativity in that kitchen.

How did you choose Chablis as a starting point, Bob? I'm also curious as to the system you are going to use to dive in here.
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Otto » Tue Sep 19, 2006 3:27 pm

Bill Buitenhuys wrote:1992 Karthauserhof Eitelsbacher Kartauserhofberg Riesling Spatlese #9 (Mosel) - Stunning. Full flavored honeyed, racy lemon cream. Super long finish. Wine like this reminds me why it’s so worth aging German riesling. Thank you, Larry.


That's good to hear. I've only tasted post-'94 wines. I've heard elsewhere that pre-'94 weren't very good. Apparently I had been misinformed. This is one estate that I always try to buy as much of as I can.

Joe Perry wrote:Damn, my cold! Mad

Sorry I missed it.

Did you get anyone to replace me, or just double up on the foie gras?


Especially because I recently recommended Boulard's Champagnes to you in another thread. You could have seen for yourself if that's what you like.
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Hoke » Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:34 pm

Bob: If you're exploring Chablis, the Dauvissat is a damned good place to start, finish, or dally with in between!

For curiosity sake, you might also try Brocard. And one that I love for mine own old time's sake is the Domain de la Moutonne Chablis. I think you would like the wine, but I know you would also be amused by the backstory of the wine as well (it's comprised of two contiguous Grand Cru vineyards).
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Sep 19, 2006 5:55 pm

Thanks, Hoke. Andrea Robinson showed a 2003 from J. Moreau & Fils, with probably more fruit than in a more normal, cooler year. But the purity of the Chardonnay was just wonderful. And, the chalky, gravelly mouth feel was new to me – like the subtle taste from those little bits of shell you sometimes get from oysters on the half shell.

I'll certainly follow up with all your suggestions.

Bill, the Rare Wine Company had one bottle of the Dauvissat left – it’s on its way here next week, and I’ll revert. Thanks for the tip.
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Sep 19, 2006 6:54 pm

Bill, I just did an idiotic thing -- I had a pretty good response to your question about the why and how of Chablis, and then deleted it by mistake. I'll reconstruct the draft and post it later tonight.

Not ignoring your question. :-( Bob
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bob Ross » Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:47 pm

Why Chablis?

My reasons were pretty emotive, Bill. Andrea Robinson uses Chardonnay as one of the big three whites, Chablis is one of the purest versions of Chardonnay since it isn't oaked and it's from France so a model for other areas, your tasting note encouraged me to go with Chablis first, and I had been toying with the idea because of a quote from one of the very first wine books I ever read, based in part on a personal love affair with oysters:

Chablis is so good with oysters
That I'm tempted to leave these cloisters
And find true love whe'ere I'm apt to.


Tenth century poetic fragment.
Kermit Lynch, Adventures on the Wine Route, 1988.

I'm going to leave the red wine cloisters from time to time, that's for sure. :-)

How white wine?

When I resolved to learn about Italy ten years ago, I read a general book on Italian wine, and divided the country into 40 political subdivisions, and some of those into two or more important grapes, resolving to spend a week on each of the areas. I then found out everything I could about the first on the list -- Chianti if memory serves. All the usual suspects: Parker, Robinson, Johnson, some of my Italian wine books, tasting notes on WLDG, posting requests for info on WLDG, and buying a few Chiantis from retailers. I typed up a file of all the information I could find in that period -- I learn best by reading and making copious notes -- not so much to refer to them again, but learning somehow by writing about what I have read.

I'll follow basically the same approach for white wines. I took the Robinson course to get a good overview and I'm setting up the 50 or so categories that I plan to study week by week for the next year. I've got a couple of good retailers in mind -- Burgundy Wine Company and Chambers Street for Burgundy whites, perhaps Daniel Johnness. I've also got a resource I didn't have for Italy -- 20,000 wine notes of my own. It turns out 22 of them are for Chablis, and I've started putting them into my Chablis file (together with your note and the suggestions Hoke made); I'll follow up on any of the background stuff in my wine notes. For example, I see that I attended a dinner where Jancis Robinson compared two lovely Chablis; I'll post a note to her on the Purple Pages, quote my notes, and now that five years have passed, ask her what she thinks now. [That will kick up some additional information; in my experience, she responds very generously to specific questions like this one.]

The dinner was held at Montrachet in November 2001, and my notes on this course read:

1996 René and Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Les Forêts Burgundy France. Very pale color; lovely intense aroma that went on and on; lovely purity of flavor; quite tart, but well balanced and a long finish. 4*. [Robinson thought the wine was in a "trough" - closed down and not showing well. She thought it needed another five years before it would show well.]

1996 René and Vincent Dauvissat Chablis Les Clos Burgundy France. Light yellow color; restrain aroma; concentrated tastes, but quite restrained; long finish. Needs time. 3*. [Robinson said the wine was really closed, but would, she thought, eventually develop into a greater wine than the Les Forêts. She had an interesting tasting phrase to describe Chablis - "wet stones" - and darned if I didn't understand what she meant.]


In any event, that's the approach. By this time next year I won't have any excuses for not understanding white wines.

Regards, Bob
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Wed Sep 20, 2006 7:54 am

I see you are employing your well thought out approach yet again, Bob. Adventures has certainly been inspirational to me as well in exploring winemakers that were new to this household. That passion is contagious. Thanks for the explanation. :)
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Larry Stein » Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:33 pm

Well, I'm now recovered from the weekend of excess. Think I'll dry out for a couple of days as more mayhem will ensue this weekend...

Hope you weren't too damaged on Sunday. The 3 of us were moving a bit more slowly than usual. Hope you two came through it relatively unscathed.

Bill, the Eitelsbacher Spat was an auction bottling. Since there's such minimal labeling on their wines, I figured the Chiquita banana sticker would be hard to miss. :wink:

Don't have any further comments about the wines except for the Pegasus Bay Pinot. It started out very Oregon-like, but with air took on the Calif. cola-like elements that I don't care for in Pinot Noir.

Joe, real sorry you couldn't make it. However, we did talk about you enough so it was almost like you were there.

Bill, it was great to meet you and Lil!
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:34 pm

Larry, we were moving pretty slowly as well on Sunday but we managed to do a 5mile hike in the afternoon, drinking lots and lots of fluids. Did you end up with foie gras omelets on Sunday?

Ahh, it was an auction bottling! I know you mentioned that and I completely missed it in my notes. Not that my notes were all the legible by nights end. :shock:

Great to meet you as well. Hope to see you on your next trip east or maybe if we make it out to the Bay area.
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby James Roscoe » Wed Sep 20, 2006 10:37 pm

JoePerry wrote:Damn, my cold! :x

Sorry I missed it.

Did you get anyone to replace me, or just double up on the foie gras?


That must have been some damned cold to keep you from a night like that. I think I would have had to have been on my death bed to miss it. I hope you are feeling better.

Great notes Bill. It sounds like a great bunch of wines!
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby JoePerry » Thu Sep 21, 2006 2:01 am

Larry Stein wrote:Joe, real sorry you couldn't make it. However, we did talk about you enough so it was almost like you were there.


Ah, well that makes me feel better.

Did you pour out some Chapoutier for your lost homie?
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby JoePerry » Thu Sep 21, 2006 2:02 am

James Roscoe wrote:
That must have been some damned cold to keep you from a night like that. I think I would have had to have been on my death bed to miss it. I hope you are feeling better.


Trust me, I must have sent out ten "I think that I might still come" e-mails, despite everyone telling me to rest. In truth, I couldn't taste or smell a damn thing until tonight.
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bob Ross » Thu Sep 21, 2006 2:11 am

Joe, I'm sorry you missed what must have been a wonderful evening. Summer colds -- or whatever -- are a real bitch.
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bob Ross » Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:24 am

Bill, Robinson replied to my question as follows:

Funny! Gosh I remember that World Atlas-launching trip to New York at its most sombre, and that dinner kindly organised by Daniel Johnnes. He is holding another at Daniel where he is based now on 25 Oct to celebrate the launch of the new Oxford Companion in the US.

You make me realise that I haven't tasted 1996 Chablis for ages. But I would expect them to be flourishing now. Can anyone else help?

I must say that in general I am finding recent vintages of Chablis have in general been made in an increasingly open and accessible style so that I wonder whether the wines will close down as obviously as they once did.


Another poster responded by asking whether the open and accessible style will reflect adversely on the aging qualities of Chablis. Interesting how my diary from five years ago is broadening my understanding of wine today.

Regards, Bob
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Thu Sep 21, 2006 4:22 pm

That's really great stuff, Bob! That is a very interesting perspective on more open styles and the ability to age and their aging process. I've read similar discussions for other wines regarding aging of more modern styles and it all comes down to that we'll just have to wait and see.
Your notes sure come in handy!
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bob Ross » Thu Sep 21, 2006 4:33 pm

Andrea and her assistants suggested during the three day course to open a bottle of wine and leave it on the counter for as long as it continues to taste good.

If it tastes good on the first day, but not thereafter, it probably won't age well. But if it's good for three, four or even five days, sometimes even better, it is a good candidate for aging.

I hadn't heard this before, but maybe it's old news to wine lovers generally.

I'm continually surprised at how much info I glean from my collection of tasting notes. A friend asked me about an unusual wine recently, I checked all the usual sources with little success, but found that eight years ago I had tried the wine and written up quite a nice little essay.

Even superficial notes seem to have value over time.
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Rahsaan » Thu Sep 21, 2006 4:35 pm

If it tastes good on the first day, but not thereafter, it probably won't age well. But if it's good for three, four or even five days, sometimes even better, it is a good candidate for aging...I hadn't heard this before, but maybe it's old news to wine lovers generally.


If I remember correctly this has been a point of major debate on the board, as some people (myself included) found this extended aeration to be a useful approximation for aging potential. Others (with more technical ammunition) claimed that the process of aging is fundamentally different from the process of extended aeration, and that such experiments did not lead to reliable conclusions.
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Re: WTN: A dinners worth of notes

Postby Bob Ross » Thu Sep 21, 2006 5:39 pm

Thanks Rahsaan.

I thought I was aware of every good dustup on wine issues -- this one passed me by entirely.

Thanks. Bob
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